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May 31, 2017

Port Authority Gets New Headquarters

The Belize Port Authority is moving to its new headquarters adjacent to the Belize National Coastguard off mile four on the George Price Highway. The spanking new facility was officially launched today and News Five’s Isani Cayetano was there.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The Belize Ports Authority is occupying a new office space and is relocating from its existing headquarters on North Front Street.  That change of location succeeds a million dollar investment in the construction of a new building.  That objective, a permanent home for the government agency, has been realized and today its doors were officially opened for business.

 

Merlene Martinez

Merlene Martinez, Ports Commissioner

“What you see here is the result of the continuation of the work started before, which we were able to complete with financing from Heritage Bank.  As I said, this is a factual presentation and I can say that the sum total of what you see here is about one point seven million Belize dollars.”

 

The multi-floor structure stands next to the Belize National Coast Guard facility as two maritime organizations with oversight of the countries waters.

 

Edmond Castro

Edmond Castro, Minister of Transport

“I think for the first time the Port Authority has a home and it has a home in its rightful place next to the Belize [National] Coast Guard and I think it’s time for all the maritime affairs to be housed in the same block whereby it’s easier when you’re licensing your boat.  If we need assistance from the coast guard they are right here if we need, whatever it is.  So we have the benefit of everybody in terms of maritime assistance right here on this block.  I was given some information and I think it really makes sense to also have IMMARBE which deals with the international segment for Belize‘s port authority to be on this same block and I think it would be a wonderful thing to see them join this area.”

 

That initiative, according to Minister Edmond Castro, has been long in the making simply because there was once an attempt to denationalize the operations of the port authority.

 

Edmond Castro

“Remember there was some issue when they wanted to privatize the port authority and then there was no land was designated for such.  It was in 2011, I think, when Minister Hulse received title.  He fought long and hard for the title for this portion of land for the port authority building and we are here some six years later inaugurating the building.  I think it‘s a milestone.  It will be easier for maritime affairs, people who want to license their boats and there are some more improvements that we need to do.”

 

Ports Commissioner Merlene Martinez credits the Minister of Transport for having supported the idea to relocate the agency by occupying new real estate.

 

Merlene Martinez

“We’re happy that all our friends, all our partners, Admiral Borland, our partners are here to participate in what is really the culmination of some fifteen years of effort by the Ministers of Transport and of course our current minister, they had to sign off on it because you can‘t create a public debt without the minister‘s support.  So we are thankful that we got the confidence and the support minister that you were able to sign your name on that dotted line and give us the okay to even create this public debt.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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